0

Bond set in violent home invasion

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

A $100,000 bond has been set for a Clayton County man accused in a Henry County home invasion.

Francisco Moses Montanez, 22, is in the Henry County Jail, charged with aggravated assault, burglary, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, theft by receiving stolen property, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, use of a firearm by a convicted felon during the commission of a crime, and with being an in-state fugitive from two jurisdictions.

A juvenile suspect also is charged in the case, and is being held in a juvenile facility. Police continue to search for a third suspect in the violent home invasion.

Henry County Police Sgt. Steven Fowler, testifying Thursday in a probable cause hearing in Henry County Magistrate Court, said a trio of armed invaders, wearing masks, struck the home owner with a pistol when they entered the Jonesboro Road home, around 1:30 a.m., Wednesday.

"He [the resident] was approached by three men with guns. He was ordered out of his room, and placed into a hallway," Sgt. Fowler testified. The sergeant said the suspects were attempting to steal from the victim. Fowler added that one of the suspects hit the victim in the back of the head, causing him to bleed.

The victim's wife, said Fowler, climbed out of a bedroom window, and ran to a neighbor's house.

The home owner also "was able to get away from the suspects and run out the garage door" to the neighbor's house, according to Fowler.

"Once [the home owner] got to the neighbor's house, he then went back to his house, got into his wife's Mercedes Benz and was able to see a vehicle leaving, traveling down Jonesboro Road," the sergeant continued. "That vehicle either turned off its lights, or turned into a neighborhood," Fowler said.

A short time later, Fowler said, officers saw a "suspicious" black Nissan Maxima driving west on Jonesboro Road, and turning into the driveway of a nearby home. The driver of the Maxima turned off the headlights and drove a partial distance down the driveway.

"As the vehicle then began to back out of the driveway, [an officer] approached the vehicle," Fowler said. Montanez was found inside the Maxima, along with a female driver, and a juvenile in the back seat, the sergeant added.

"Mr. Montanez was not wearing a shirt," said Fowler. "He had black ... jeans, and he had on black shoes, and he was holding a sweatshirt in his lap. His pants were covered with dirt, and they were wet from approximately the kneecap down."

The juvenile, according to Fowler, had a silver handgun near him on the floorboard of the vehicle, and was taken out of the car at gunpoint. The sergeant said the victim positively identified the juvenile, as the person who had struck him.

"There was also another weapon taken out of the back seat," Fowler continued. "Both handguns matched the victim's description of the handguns that were involved in the home-invasion robbery."

Both guns, the sergeant said, were stolen. "One was stolen in an entering-auto [case], and one was stolen in a burglary that occurred in the last couple months here in Henry County," Fowler said.

Jail records indicate that Montanez has pending fugitive warrants from the Morrow Police Department, and from Clayton County. No additional information on the fugitive charges was available Thursday.

Montanez and the juvenile were taken to the Henry County Police Department. Fowler said police found shoe prints at the scene of the robbery, matching those of Montanez and the juvenile.

The driver of the Maxima is not believed to have been involved in the robbery, and was not charged in the case, according to Fowler.

Jennifer Lewis, with the Henry County Public Defender's Office, is representing Montanez on the charges against him. During her client's hearing, Lewis attempted to have some of the charges in the case dismissed. "There's no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Montanez had anything to do with an aggravated assault," she said. "There has been no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Montanez had any knowledge ... that the guns were in the car."

However, prosecutor Bill McBroom, of the Henry Solicitor's Office, said Montanez was a party to the crime, regardless of his specific, alleged actions." An act done by one is attributable to all," McBroom said.

Chief Magistrate Judge Robert Godwin bound Montanez's charges over to Superior Court.